Ag Secretary Visits Snyder, Union Counties
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Ag Secretary Visits Snyder, Union Counties

It was a pleasure to welcome Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding to Snyder and Union counties recently to see the diversity of our region’s ag industry. The secretary’s first stop was at Falconer Mike Dupuy’s farm, followed by a visit to Shade Mountain Winery to discuss damage to the grape crop caused by drifting herbicides. Finally, he stopped by the Union County West End Fair to meet fair officials, vendors and farmers, including the Mapes family of Mapes View Dairy in Mifflinburg.

From left, Sen. John Gordner, Falconer Mike Dupuy, Secretary Redding and Benjamin Ranck of my Mifflinburg office.

From left, Sen. Gordner, Secretary Redding, winery owners Karl and Carolyn Zimmerman, and Benjamin Ranck.

From left, Jim Mapes and son, Sue Mapes, Mark Mapes, Secretary Redding, Jenny Mapes, me, and Stephanie Mapes and son.
Check Out These Upcoming Events!

Middleburg Fireman’s Carnival: Now through Saturday, Aug. 12, 4:30-10 p.m. at Reliance Hose Company No. 1. Events include a parade on Thursday, Aug. 10, at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks on Friday, Aug. 11, at 10:45 p.m.; and entertainment by “Memory Lane” on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. Visit Reliance Hose Company No. 1 on Facebook here.

Union County West End Fair: Now through Saturday, Aug. 12. Events include East Coast Sanctioned Tractor Pulls on Friday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m.; parade on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 3 p.m.; and Interstate Sanctioned Tractor Pulls on Saturday, Aug. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Visit for a full schedule of events.

Hillbilly Fever Days: Aug. 15-19, 5:30-11 p.m. at Possum Hollow Park, Beavertown. Musical acts nightly and fireman’s parade Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Click here to view Beavertown Rescue Hose Company 20 on Facebook.

Middlecreek Valley Antique Association Fall Show: Aug. 25-27 at association grounds on Old Colony Road, Selinsgrove. Click here for a schedule of events. You may also visit the association’s Facebook page here.

47th Annual New Berlin Day: Aug. 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at various locations in the borough. Visit for a full schedule.
State Reports Increase in Lyme Cases in 2016

Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease, which was confirmed by an approximate 20 percent increase in people infected by the tick-borne illness last year. In total, more than 11,443 cases were reported in 2016, according to a report released this week by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Locally, Snyder County reported 42 cases of the disease in 2016, while Union County reported 55 cases. Each county in the Commonwealth is confirmed to have a high risk of Lyme.

Legislatively, the House passed House Bill 174, which would require health insurers to cover treatment plans for Lyme disease or related tick-borne illnesses as prescribed by a patient’s health care practitioner, regardless if the treatment plan includes short-term or long-term antibiotic treatment. The bill is now with the Senate.

The best prevention against Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses is to avoid tick-infested habitats, such as areas dense with shrubbery or tall grass. Proper use of personal protective measures such as repellents and protective clothing, and checking for and removing attached ticks are also important deterrents to tick-related complications. Other prevention tips are available here.
New Immunization Requirements for PA Schools This Fall

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has revised Pennsylvania’s school immunization requirements for the 2017-18 school year.

The new rules require parents to get their children fully immunized prior to the fifth day of school or the students will be excluded from school. Previously, parents had eight months to meet school immunization requirements.

If a student is in the middle of an immunization series and it is too soon for the next dose, the parents must provide the school nurse with a written plan, signed by their health care provider, within the first five days of school.

For more information, contact your health care provider, visit or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH.
Fighting Back Against ‘Stolen Valor’

Unscrupulous individuals who seek to benefit financially by falsely identifying themselves as veterans will face criminal penalties under legislation signed into law recently.

Act 9 of 2017, formerly House Bill 168, seeks to protect the honor and valor of America’s veterans by making any misrepresentation of military service or honors for financial benefit a third-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. Examples of such criminal behavior range from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits to fraudulently obtaining preference in a government contract or a job reserved for a veteran.

This new law will take effect in later this month.
Bill to Boost Fight Against Waste, Fraud, Abuse

Legislation that would ensure the future of the State Office of Inspector General has been passed by the General Assembly and signed into law.

Recognizing the importance of its work to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the state’s welfare system and government as a whole, Act 29 of 2016 makes the office a permanent part of state government. Previously, the office existed only by executive order of the governor.

Under the law, the Office of Inspector General would be granted subpoena power for its internal investigations and would be authorized to investigate and file criminal charges for certain welfare fraud crimes. The law also aims to promote the office’s independence. It outlines qualifications for the top post and provides a separate budgetary line item for the office. Finally, it ensures regular communications with the General Assembly.
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